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Framing and Priming Effect of Commentary on Audiences Perception: The Moderating Role of Sport Nationalism

Minkyo Lee (Indiana University-Bloomington), Choong Hoon Lim (Indiana University-Bloomington), Antonio Williams (Indiana University-Bloomington)  

Abstract: During the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea, a nationwide boycott movement on Korea’s part against Italy’s products was launched due to the soccer match between Korea and Italy. Some critics attributed this to nationalistic media bias such as nationalistic sports commentary that characterized strong affiliation with their nationalism. Existing studies have shown that commentary on live sports broadcasts might alter viewer perception, based on the framing theory. However, priming effect of the commentary might play significant roles in real world. For example, perceptions (e.g., team images) that are derived by color commentator may activate as standards for evaluating the country (e.g., product of the country). Therefore, the current study (N = 80) explored the role of commentary and nationalism in predicting team image, hostility, and purchasing intention toward opponent countries. In this experiment, Korean participants were randomly divided into two groups: an objective commentary version, and a color commentary version, to watch a video clip taken from a soccer match between South Korea and Japan. Moderated multiple regressions (MMR) were conducted to examine the effects of sports commentary and nationalism on three criteria variables. The results showed that sport nationalism moderated the effect of color commentary on the Japanese national soccer team image and hostility toward Japanese. However, the interaction effect did not predict purchasing intention of Japanese products. These findings advance previous research which investigated how biased commentary frame viewer perceptions in mediated sport. Moreover, it was found that sports nationalism plays an important role in international sports competition.